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[No. L-3081.

October 14, 1949]


ANTONIO LACSON, petitioner, vs. HONORIO ROMESRO ET AL., respondents.

1. PUBLIC OFFICERS; PROVINCIAL FISCAL; APPOINTMENT OF; INVOLVES SEVERAL STEPS.The


appointment of provincial fiscal to be complete involves several steps. First, comes the nomination by
the President. Then to make that nomination valid and permanent, the Commission on Appointments of
the Legislature has to confirm said nomination. The last step is the acceptance thereof by the appointee
by his assumption of office. The first two steps, nomination and confirmation, constitute a mere offer of
a post. They are acts of the Executive and Legislative departments of the Government. But the last
necfessary step to make the appointment complete and effective, rests solely with the appointee
himself. He may or he. niay not accept the appointment or nomination as there is no power in this
country which can compel a man to accept an offlce.

2. ID. ; ID. ; APPOINTMENT AND TRANSFER TO ANOTHER PROVINCE IS EQUlVALENT TO REMOVAL OR


SEPARATION; ILLEGALITY.The appointment and transfer of a provincial fiscal from one province to
another would mean his removal or separation from the first ptovince. The reason is that a fiscal is
appointed for each province, Said removal is illegal and unlawful unless

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for cause as provided by law and the Constitution, and the confirmation of the nomination by the
Commission on Appointments doea not and cannot validate the removal, since the Constitution is
equally binding on the Legislature.

3. ID. ; ID. ; NATURE OF OFFICE.A provincial fiscal who is nominated and appointed by the President
with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, is under secticm 671 (&) of the Eevised
Administrative Code included in the unclassified service of the Civil Service.

4. ID. ; ID. ; CONSTITUTIONAL PROHIBITION ; PRESIDENT WITH CONCURRENCE OP COMMISSION ON


APPOINTMENTS MAY NOT REMOVE PISCAL WITHOUT CAUSE.A provincial fiscal as a civil service
official may not be removed from office even by the President who appointed him, and even with the
consent of the Commission on Appointments, except for cause. Article XII, section 4 of the Constitution
provides that no officer or employee in the Civil Service shall be removed or suspended except for cause
as provided by law. This constitutional prohibition is a limitation to the inherent power of the Executive
to remove those civil service offlcials whom he appoints.

5. ID.; ID.; TENURE OF OFFICE.A provincial fiscal duly appointed, until he reaches the age of 65 has
the right to continue in offlce unless sooner removed for cause. In other words, he enjoys tenure of
office, which is duly protected by statute and by the Constitution.

6. ID. ; REMOVAL OR SUSPENSION OF A CIVIL SERVICE OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE, REQUISITES OF.By


the mandate of sections 64 and 694 of the Revised Administrative Code, before a civil service official or
employee can be removed, there must first be an investigation at which he must be given a fair hearing
and an opportunity to defend himself.

7. ID.; REMOVAL WITHOUT LAWFUL CAUSE IN THE GUISE OF TRANSPER FROM ONE OFFICE TO
ANOTHER WITHOUT TRANSFEREE'S CONSENT, EFFECT OF.To permit circumvention of the
constitutional prohibition (Art. XII, sec. 4) by allowing removal from office without lawful cause, in the
form or guise of transfers from one office to another, or from one province to another, without the
consent of the transferee, would blast the hopes of those young civil service officials and career men
and women, destroy their security and tenure of office and made for a subservient, discontented and
inefficient civil service force that sways with every political wind that blows and plays up to whatever
political party is in the saddle. That would be far from what the framers of our Constitution
contemplated and desired. Neither

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would that be our concept of a free and efficient Government force, possessed of self-respect and
reasonable ambition.

OBIGINAL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Quo Warranto.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

Cruz, Puno & Lacson for petitioner.

The respondent Provincial Fiscal in his own behalf.

Solicitor General Felix Bautista, Angelo and Assistant Solicitor Inocencio Rosal for respondent Judge.

Avena, Villaftores & Lopez for other respondents.

MONTEMAYOR, J.:

Involved in these quo warranto proceedings filed directly with this Court is the Office of Provincial Fiscal
of Negros Oriental, and the right to said position as between the petitioner Antonio Lacson and the
respondent Honorio Romero.

The facts necessary for the decision in this case may be Stated as follows: Petitioner Lacson was on July
25, 1946, appointed by the President of the Philippines, provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental. The
appointment was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on August 6, 1946. He took his oath
of office on August 10, 1946, and thereafter performed the duties of that office.

Upon recommendation of the Secretary of Justice, on May 17, 1949, the President nominated petitioner
Lacson to the post of provincial fiscal of Tarlac. On the same date, the President nominated for the
position of provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental respondent Romero. Both nominations were
simultaneously confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on May 19, 1949.

Lacson neither accepted the appointment nor assumed the office of fiscal of Tarlac. But respondent
Romero took his oath of office (the post of fiscal of Negros Oriental) in Manila on June 16, 1949, notified
the Solicitor General of the f act, and thereafter proceeded to his station. Upon arrival at Dumaguete
City, capital of Negros Oriental, he

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notified Lacson of his intention to take over the office the following day, but Lacson objected. On June
24, 1949, Romero appeared in criminal case No. 4433 before Judge Gregorio S. Narvasa. In said
appearance, petitioner Lacson filed his objection aiid asked that Romero's appearance be stricken from
the record. After Romero had exhibited his credentials as required by the court, Judge Narvasa on the
same day denied the petition of Lacson and recognized respondent Romero as the provincial fiscal of
Negros Oriental. On June 27, 1949, Romero appeared in Special Proceedings No. 630 before Judge
Felicisimo Ocampo. Lacson again objected to said appearance but the court overruled his objection. This

will explain why Judges Narvasa and Ocampo were made respondents in these quo warranto
proceedings.

When petitioner Lacson requested payment of his salary for the period from June 16 to June 23, 1949 as
provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental, Angel Paguia, Provincial Auditor and L. J. Alfabeto, Provincial
Treasurer turned down his claim and instead paid respondent Romero the salary for the position of
provincial fiscal from June 16, 1949, and continued paying it to him periodically up to the present time.
Their action was based on a reply given to their query, by the Secretary of Justice to the effect that
Romero was the provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental. This is the reason why the Auditor and the
Treasurer of Negros Oriental were likewise made respondents in these proceedings.

The purpose of tihe present action is to establish the right of the petitioner to the post of provincial
fiscal of Negros Oriental and to oust the respondent Romero therefrom. The petition and the
memorandum in support thereof among other things contain the following prayer:

"(1) Recognizing the right of petitioner Antonio Lacson to hold and occupy the position of provincial
fiscal of Negros Oriental;

"(2) Declaring the respondent Honorio Romero guilty of usurpation, unlawful holding and exercise of the
functions and duties of provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental; ordering the exclusion of said

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respondent from said office; and ordering him to surrender to herein petitioner all records and papers
appertaining to said office that may have come into his possession;

"(3) Ordering respondents provincial treasurer L. J. Alfabeto and provincial auditor Angel Paguia, or their
successors in office, to pay herein petitioner his salary commencing June 16, 1949, up to the present
time and until herein petitioner shall have legally ceased to be the incumbent of said office; and

"(4) Ordering respondent Honorio Komero to pay the costs."

Incidentally, and to serve as background in the consideration of this case, it may be stated that when the
nominations of Lacson and Romero to the posts of Provincial Fiscal of Tarlac and Negros Oriental,
respectively, were made in May, 1949, Negros Oriental was a second class province with a salary of
1*5,100 per annum for the post of provincial fiscal, while Tarlac was first class simple with a higher
salary of 1*5,700 per annum for its provincial fiscal. There is therefore reason to believe that the
nomination of Lacson to Tarlac or rather his attempted trarisf er f rom Negros Oriental to Tarlac was
intended and considered as a promotion. At least, there is nothing in the record to show that he was
being deliberately eased out of or removed from his post in Negros Oriental. However, after the
appointments and confirmations, the President raised the province of Negros Oriental to the category of
First Class A province with retroactive effect as of January 1, 1949. It is alleged by respondent Romero
that after the filing of the present petition, Tarlac was likewise raised to the category of First Classi B
province on July 15, 1949 so that thereafter the salary for provincial fiscal in both province is the same,
namely, P6,000 each. This might be one of the reasons why petitioner Lacson declined to accept his
nomination to the Province of Tarlac, prefering to remain at his old post of provincial fiscal of Negros
Oriental.

The determination as to who is entitled to the position of provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental, depends
upon the correct answers to several queries such as: (1) Did the

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Commission on Appointments alone, without his acceptance nomination of Lacson to Tarlac and its
confirmation by the thereof create a vacancy in the post of provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental so that
Romero could be lawf ully appointed to said vacancy? (2) Does the nomination of Lacson to Tarlac and
its confirmation by the Commission on Appointments serve as and is equivalent to a removal of Lacson
as fiscal of Negros Oriental? If in the affirmative, was that removal valid and lawful? (3) Could the
President who appointed Lacson as provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental remove him at will and without
cause, or did the post of provincial fiscal in general have attached to it a tenure of office during which
the incumbent may not be removed except for cause?

The appointment to a government post like that of provincial fiseal to be complete involves several
steps. First, comes the nomination by the President. Then to make that nomination valid and
permanent, the Commission on Appointments of the Legislature has to confirm said nomination. The
last step is the acceptance thereof by the appointee by his assumption of office. The first two steps,
nomination and confirmation, constitute a mere offer of a post. They are acts of the Executive and
Legislative departments of the Government. But the last necessary step to make the appointment
complete and effective rests solely with the appointee himself. He may or he may not accept the
appointment or nomination. As held in the case of Borromeo vs. Mariano, 41 Phil., 327, "there is no
power in this country which can compel a man to accept an office." Consequently, since Lacson has
declined to accept his appointment as provincial fiscal of Tarlac and no one can compel him to do so,
then he continues as provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental and no vacancy in said office was created,
unless Lacson had been lawfully removed as such fiscal of Negros Oriental.

As to the second question, it is obvious that the intended transf er of Lacson to Tarlac on the basis of his
nomination thereto, if carried out, would be equivalent to a removal

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from his office in Negros Oriental. To appoint and transfer him from one province to another would
mean his removal or separation from the first province. The reason is that a fiscal is appointed for each
province (sec. 1673, Rev. Adm. Code), and Lacson could not well and legally hold and occupy the two
posts of fiscal of Tarlac and Negros Oriental simultaneously. To be fiscal for Tarlac must mean his
removal from Negros Oriental.

In the case of Nicolas vs. Alberto, 51 Phil., 370, this Court held that "a transfer of a Justice of the Peace
outside of the municipality of which he is appointed is in legal effect a combined removal and
appointment." (Decision in this case was reversed by the U. S. Supreme Court [279 U. S., 141], but on
other grounds, leaving the doctrine on transfer and removal undisturbed.) When the transfer is
consented to and accepted by the transferees, then there would be n.o question; but where as in the
present case, the transfer is involuntary and objected to, then it is necessary to decide whether the
removal is lawful.

What is the nature of the office of provincial fiscal? Is it included in the Civil Service? The answer is,
undoubtedly, in the affirmative. Article XII, section 1 of our Constitution provides that "a Civil Service
embracing all branches and subdivisions of the Government shall be provided by law." Section 668 of
the Administrative Code as amended by Com. Act No. 177, sec. 6, provides that "the Philippine Civil
Service shall embrace all branches and subdivisions of the Government;" and section 670 of the same
Code provides that "persons in the Philippine Civil Service pertain either to the classified or unclassified
service." Section 671 of the same code as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 177, section 8 in part
provides as follows:

"Sec. 671. Persons embraced in unclassified service.The following officers and employees constitute
the unclassified service:

"(a) A secretary, a sergeant-at-arms, and such other officers as may be required and chosen by the
National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution.

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"(b) Officers, other than the provincial treasurers and Assistant Directors of Bureaus or Offices,
appointed by ihe. President of the Philippines, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments of
the National Assembly, and all other officers of the Government whose appointments are by law vested
in the President of the Philippines alone.

"(c) Elective offlcers."

From the foregoing, we find that the post of provincial fiscal in the Philippines is included in subsection
(b) above-quoted particularly the underlined portion thereof. The law regarding appointment to the
post of provincial fiscal is contained in section 66 of the Administrative Code which provides that "the
Governor-General (now the President) shall appoint among other officials, Secretaries to Departments,
Provincial Treasurers, Provincial Fiscais> Register of Deeds, ete." And, Article VII, section 10(3) of the
Constitution provides that the President shall nominate and with the consent of the Commission on
Appointments shall appoint among other officials, "all other officers of the Government whose
appointments are not herein otherwise provided for" which clearly includes the office of provincial
fiscal. It is therefore clear that a provincial fiscal who is nominated and appointed by the President with
the consent of the Commission on Appointments, as was petitioner Lacson, is, under section 671 (b)
above-quoted, included in the unclassified service of the Civil Servicfe.

The next question arises as to whether the President even with the concurrence or consent of the
Commission on Appointments may remove a provincial fiscal without cause. The Constitution itself
denies said right. Article XII, section 4 of said instrument provides that "no officer or employee in the
civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause as provided by law." This constitutional
provision is reproduced word for word in the first paragraph of sec. 694 of the Rev. Adm. Code, as
amended by Commonwealth Act No. 177, section 22.

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In order to better appreciate the meaning of this constitutional provision as well as the purpose behind
it, it is necessary to delve, though ever so lightly into the framing of this basic instrument. The
Committee on Civil Service of the Constitutional Convention which drafted the Constitution in its report
and in advocating the merit system in connection with a civil service system among other things stated
the following:

"The adoption of the 'merit system' in government service has secured efficiency and social justice. It
eliminates the political factor in the selection of civil employees which is the first essential to an efficient
personnel system. It insures equality of opportunity to all deserving applicants desirous of a career in
the public service. It advocates a new concept of the public office as a career open to all and not the
exclusive patrimony of any party or faction to be doled out as a reward for party service." (Aruego's
Fraining of the Constitution, Vol. II, p. 886.)

"The 'merit system' was adopted only after the nations of the world took cognizance of its merits.
Political patronage in the government service was sanctioned in 1789 by the constitutional right of the
President of the United States to act alone in the matter of renxovals. From the time of Andrew Jackson,

the principle of the 'To the victor belong the spoils' dominated the Federal Government. The system
undermined moral values and destroyed administrative efficiency." .... (Ibid. p. 886.)

"Since the establishment of the American Regime in the Philippines we have enjoyed the benefits of the
'merit system.' The Schurman Commission advocated in its report th'at 'the greatest care sliould be
taken in the selection of officials for administration. They should be men of the highest character and
fitness, and partisan politics should be entirely separated from the government.' The fifth act passed by
the Philippine Cormnission created a Board of Civit Service. It instituted a system here that was far more
radical and thorough than that in the United States. The Governors-General after William Taft adopted
the policy of appointing Filipinos in the government regardless of their party affiliation. As the result of
these 'the personnel of the Civil Service had gradually come to be one of which the people of the United
States could feel justly proud.'

"Necessity for Constitutional Provisions.The inclusion in the constitution of provisions regarding the
'merit system' is a necessity of modern times. As its establishment secures good government, the

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citizens have a right to expect its guarantee as a permanent institution (Ibid. p. 887.)

"Separations, Suspensions, Demotions,and- Transf&rs.Th& 'merit system' will be ineffective if no


safeguards are placed around the separation and removal of public employees. The Committee's report
requires that removals shall be made only for 'causes and in the manner provided by law.' This means

that there should be bona fide reasons and action may be taken only after the employee shall have been
given a fair hearing. This affords to public employees reasonable security of tenure." (Ibid. p. 890.)

It is contended on behalf of the respondent that the power of removal is inherent in the power to
appoint and that consequently, the President had the right to reiriove the petitioner as provincial fiscal
of Negros Oriental and transfer him to Tarlac. Ordinarily, where there is no constitutional limitation the
contention of the responderit would be tenable; but where as in the Philippines and as already stated
the Constitution forbids the removal of a civil service official or employee like the petitioner except for
cause as provided by law, said right of the Ghief Executive is qualified and limited. That constitutional
prohibition is a limitation to the inherent power of the Exeeutive to remove those civil service officials
whom he appoints. This is the reason why we find the American cases cited in support of respondent's
theory to be inapplicable. The prohibition against removal except for cause eontained in our
Constitution has no counterpart iri the Federal Constitutibn of the United States.

Again, it is contended that the provincial fiscal is not appointed for a fixed term and that there is no
tenure of office attached to the post. This contention is without merit. As we have already stated, a
provinqial fiscal as a civil service official may not be removed from offiee even by the President who
appointed him, and even with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, except for cause.
Considering this security ancl protection accorded a provincial fiscal from. arbitrary and illegal removal
from office, and considering the provisions of s.ection 1673 of the Administrative Code which among
other things provides,

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that "after December 31, 1932 any city fiseal or assistant city fiscal of Manila, promncial fiscal or deputy
provincial fiscal over 65 years of age shall vacate his offiee, the logieal inference is that a provincial fiscal
duly appointed, until he reaches the age of 65 has the right to continue in office unless sooner removed
for cause. In other words, he enjoys tenure of office, which is duly protected by statute and by the
Constitution.

The last part of the report of the Committee on Civil Service of the Constitutional Convention which we
have reproduced mentions this tenure of office in its last sentence,"This affords public employees
reasonable security or tenure." Speaking of tenure of offiee of members of the civil service in the
Philippines, Prof essor Sinco in his book on Philippine Political Law has the following to say:

"Seeurity of Tenure.

"Nothing can be more demoralizing to a group of civil servants than the fear that they might be removed
from their posts any time at the pleasure of their superiors. It goes without saying that a demoralized
force is an inefficient force. Security of tenure is necessary in order to obtain efficiency in the civil
service. For this purpose the Constitution provides that 'no officer or employee in the Civil Service shall
be removed or suspended except for cause as provided by law.' (Philippine Political Law by Sinco, p.
350.)

"In our discussion of the functions of the President, it was there shown that the President's power of
removal, which is implied from his power of appointment, is very comprehensive and almost unlimited
when it affects officers holding purely executive positions. This class of officers, under the rule laid down
in the Meyers case, may be removed by the President at practically any time and for any cause. No
statutory check, such as a requirement that his order of removal should be subject to the previous
consent of the senate or the Gommission on Appeintments before it could be effeetive, may be validly
placed upon his right to exercise this power. But the provision of the Constitution of the Philippines,
which has no counterpart in the Constitution of the United States, makes the tenwre of officers and
employees in the Civil Service secure even against the President's power of removal and even if the
officers should hold purely executive offices. The resxilt is that the scope of the rule established in the
Meyers case is eonsiderably modifled and reduced when applied in this jurisdiction. It may only apply in
case of executive officers appointed

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by the President and not belonging to the Civil Service as establised by the Constitution." (Ibid. pp. 350351.)

It is also coritended by the respondent that neither the Constitution nor the laws passed by the
Legislature mention or enumerate the cause or causes for which a civil service official may be removed
from office. We find this claim untenable. Section 686 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended
by Commonwealth Act No. 177, section 18 provides that falsification by a civil service official of his daily
time record shall render him liable to summary removal and subject him to prosecution as provided by
law. A like provision for removal and prosecution is found in section 687 of the same Code, as amended
by Commonwealth Act 177, section 19 which deals with political activity and contribution to political
fund by civil service employees. Then we have Rule XIII, section 6 of the Civil Service Rules providing
thus:

"6. Discourtesy to private individuals or to Government offlcers or employees, drunkenness, gambling,


dishonesty, repeated or flagrant violation or neglect of duty, notoriously disgraceful or immoral conduct,
physical incapacity due to immoral or vicious habits, incompetency, inefficiency, borrowing money by
superior officers from subordinates or lending money by subordinate to superior officers, lending
money at exhorbitant rates of interest, willful failure to pay just debts, contracting loans of money or
other property from merchants or other persons with whom the bureau of the borrower is in business
relations, pecuniary embarrassment arising from reprehensible conduct, the pursuits of private
business, vocation, or profession without permission in writing from the chief of the bureau or offlce in
which employed and of the Governor-General (now the President) or proper head of Department,
disreputable or dishonest conduct committed prior to entering the service, insubordination, pernicicras
political activity, offensive political partisanship or conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,
or the willful violation by any person in the Philippine civil service of any of the provisions of the Revised
Civil Service Act or rules, may be considered reasons demanding proceedings to remove for cause, to

reduce in class or grade, or to inflict other punishment as provided by law in the discretion of the
Governor-General (now the President) or proper head of Department. No chief of a bureau or office
shall knowingly continue in the public service any subordinate officer or employee who

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is inefficient or who is guilty of any of the above-named derelictions, without submitting the facts
through the Director to the GovernorGeneral (now the President) or proper head of Department."

The law and civil service rules above referred to clearly provide the causes or some of the causes for
removal of civil service officials; and they answer the contention of the respondent on this point.

Section 64 of the Revised Administrative Code, providing for the particular powers and duties of the
Governor-General, now the President of the Republic, in part reads as f ollows:

"(6) To remove officials from office conformably to law and to declare vacant the offices held by such
removed officials. For disloyalty to the United States (now the Philippines), the GovernorGeneral (now
the President) may at any time remove a person from any position of trust or authority under the
Government of the Philippine Islands.

"(c) To order, when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires, an investigation or any
action or the conduct of any person in the Government service, and in connection therewith to
designate the official, committee, or person by whom such investigation shall be conducted."

Section 694 of the Administrative Code as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 177, section 22, reads as
follows:

"Sec. 694. Removal or suspension*No officer or employee in the civil service shall be removed or
suspended except for cause as provided by law.

"The President of the Philippines may suspend any chief or assistant chief of a bureau or office, and in
the absence of special provision, any other officer appointed by him, pending an investigation of charges
against such officer or pending an investigation of his bureau or office. With the approval of the proper
head of department, the chief of a bureau or office may likewise suspend any subordinate or employee
in his bureau or under his authority pending an investigation, if the charge against such svibordinate or
employee involves dishonesty, oppression, or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty."

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From the sections above-quoted, the inference is inevitable that before a civil service official or
employee can be removed, there must first be an investigation at which he must be given a fair hearing
and an opportunity to defend himself. In the case of petitioner Lacson, the record fails to show, neither
is there any claim that he has been charged with any violation of law or civil service regulation, much
less investigated and thereafter found guilty so as to authorize or warrant removal from. office. In view
of the foregoing, we are constrained to find and to hold that the transfer of Lacson to Tarlac by his.
nomination to the post of provincial fiscal of that province was equivalent to and meant his removal as
provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental; that said removal was illegal and unlawful for lack of valid cause as
provided by law and the Constitution; that the confirmation of the nomination by the Commission on
Appointments did not and could not validate the removal, since the Constitution is equally binding on
the Legislature; that a provincial fiscal is a civil service official or employee whose tenure of office is
protected by the Constitution; and that Antonio Lacson could not be compelled to accept his
appointment as provincial fiscal of Tarlac; that having declined said appointment, he continued as
provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental; that inasmuch as he neither left, abandoned nor resigned from his
post as provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental, there was no vacancy in said post to which the respondent
could be legally appointed; and that consequently, the appointment of the respondent was invalid.

In this connection we may point out that the Constitution having clearly limited and qualified the
Presidential power of removal in order to protect civil service officials and emplpyees, secure to them a
reasonable tenure of office and thus give the country the benefit of an efficient civil service based on
the merit system, this Court could do no less than give effect to the plain intent and spirit of the basic
law, specially when it is supplemented and given due course by statutes, rules and regulations. To hold
that civil service-

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officials hold their office at the will of the appointing power subject to removal or forced transfer at any
time, would demoralize and undermine and eventually destroy the whole Civil Service System and
structure. The country would then go back to the days of the old Jacksonian Spoils System under which a
victorious Chief Executive, after the elections could if so minded, sweep out of office, civil service
employees differing in political color or affiliation f rom him, and sweep in his political f ollowers and
adherents, especially those who have given him help, political or otherwise. A Chief Executive running
for re-election may even do this before election time not only to embarrass and eliminate his political
enemies from office but also to put his followers in power so that with their official influence they could
the better help him and his party in the elections. As may be gathered f rom the report of the
Committee of the Constitutional Convention which we have reproduced at the beginning of this opinion,
the f ramers of our Constitution, at least the Civil Service Committee thereof, condemned said spoils
system and purposely and deliberately inserted the constitutional prohibition against removal except for
cause, which now forms the basis of this decision.

There are hundreds, yea, thousands of young, ambitious people who enter the Civil Service not
temporarily or as a makeshift, but to make a career out of it. They give the best years of their lives to the
service in tihe hope and expectation that with faithful service, loyalty and soine talent, they may
eventually attain the upper reaches and levels of official hierarchy.

To permit circumvention of the constitutional prohibition in question by allowing removal from office
without lawful cause, in the form or guise of transfers from one office to another, or from one province
to another, without the consent of the transferee, would blast the hopes of these young civil service
officials and career men and women, destroy their security and tenure of office and make for a

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subservient, discontented and inefficient civil service force that sways with every political wind that
blows and plays up to whatever political party is in the saddle. That would be far from what the framers
of our Constitution contemplated and desired. Neither would that be our concept of a free and efficient
Government force, possessed of selfrespect and reasonable ambition.

Incidentally, it happens that the petitioner is one of those we had in mind as making a career of the
Government service. He claims and it is not denied by the respondent, that twenty years ago he entered
the service of the Government as register of deeds of Negros Oriental, then was promoted to the post of
fiscal, first of the Province of Palawan, then of Surigao, later of Antique and lastly of Negros Oriental in
1946. He does not want to accept the transfer to the Province of Tarlac. His only alfernative would be to
resign, sacrifice his twenty years of continuous, faithful service and his career, and perchance his hope
that some day, he might yet be promoted to the judiciary. Not a very bright prospect or picture, not only
to him but to other civil service officials in like circumstances.

But in justice to the President and the Commission on Appointments, let it be stated once again that it
would seem that the transfer of the petitioner to Tarlac was not meant and intended as a punishment, a
disciplinary measure or demotion. It was really a promotion, at least at the time the appointment was
made. Only, that later, due to a change in the category of Oriental Negros as a province, the transfer
was no longer a promotion in salary. And yet the respondent and the Solicitor General insisted in the
transfer despite the refusal of the petitioner to accept his new appointment.

In conclusion, we find and declare the petitioner to be the provincial fiscal of Negros Oriental, and tlie
respondent not being entitled to said post, is hereby ordered to surrender to the petitioner all the
records or papers appertaining to sald office that may have come into his possession.

756

756

PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED

Villavert vs. Fornier

The respondent provincial auditor and provincial treasurer are hereby ordered to pay to the herein
petitioner his salary from June 16, 1949, and as long as said petitioner continues to be the legal
incumbent to the office in question. Considering that the respondent appears to have acted in good
faith and relied upon his nomination by the President and the confirmation thereof by the Commission
on Appointments, as well as the position taken by the Solicitor General, who sustained his appointment,
we make no pronouncement as to costs.

Ozaeta, Paras, Feria, Bengzon, Tuason, and Torres, JJ.> concur.

REYES, J.:

I concur in the result.

Writ granted. [Lacson vs. Romero, 84 Phil. 740(1949)]